working towards great client service

Money matters at the bottom of the food chain.

By Hoa Dien Tran – s3408742 – Group 2@SGS Campus

Or at least that’s how I visualize the position of a production house.

For all of you who are still alienated with the term production house, they do the graphic part there, at Cyclo Animation particularly, they do animation graphic art for agencies. Find those dancing cows jamming to a ridiculously stupid and addictive tune on TV amusing? Chances are they were drawn and put to live by visual artists under production houses, such as Ms. Kay Mai. (From now on, I will refer to Ms. Kay Mai as Kay).


Proof of life taken by Kay's friend at her private sale on 27/4/2014

Proof of life taken by Kay’s friend at her private sale on 27/4/2014


Hope I could sketch my readers a picture of how bills are handled over at production houses after conversating with Kay from Cyclo Animation Vietnam, a production house that carries out post production, or in the academic sphere we call it the execution of big ideas, for communication agencies.

Kay started out as a VFX artists 2 years ago after graduating from her flash course in Singapore. Her initial plan was to stay and work on the small island, then her working visa got screwed and she went back to Vietnam and joined Cyclo Animation, a 5-year-old Saigon-based production house. Kay has work done for Publicis, Saatchi & Saatchi, Ogilvy and more.



(Quick note: The business works with PR/Ad Agency, PR/Ad Agency works with a production house. Basically the clients of production house are the agencies.)

Turn out in the reality world, there is a position called “producer”, whom I’d say doesn’t necessarily belong to the account team, but it’s versatile based on each agency.

The “producer” here usually offers the bacon to production houses, by referring them to agencies in need. He/she serves as a liaison between the production house and the client. The “producer” is the dealer who works out the remuneration package for the project.

Kay shared that the dealer usually receives 5 to 10% of overall payment for each campaign as commission, based on how “thick skinned” the dealer is. Basically, what a dealer does it that they tell the production house to come up with a price that already includes the production house fee plus the percentage the dealer wants out of a particular project. That price list later will be sent to the client. The billing method for artists do not seem to fall into any of the theoretical categories suggested by Casul (2014), however, we can easily see that it resembles the Commission Fee. My dear readers, you should always be reminded that the practical world is nothing like the textbook you learnt in school.



Kay explained , as a 3rd party supplier, you hold the shorter end because you’re at the bottom of the food chain. The dealer may push the price because it’s him/her who referred the jobs to the production house.


“If the production house refuses to compromise with the budget, then chances are there would be no future of collaboration because your production house has already been blacklisted. It’s basically how agencies are in Vietnam at the moment, deal with the ugly truth, babe.”


Funny how we listed “being cunning” as one of the attribution of an account person/middle man, Kay said that she detests some individuals for the exact same thing. Noted that I am generalizing this up and not every single account person is cunning and obnoxious. I guess it depends heavily on what perspective you are in and what kind of personality you possess.


But Heyyyyyy …?


After all it’s a production house where creativity does its magic, will the money matters become a burden to the artists?

Well, I managed to get a quick quote from a mysterious producer, who also works at Cyclo Animation. She apparently serves as a fairy god mother to the artists by raising her shield of defense.


“Artist shouldn’t know or care about the deal between suppliers and client.  As a producer, we try to keep them free from all the deal of quote/price/money and let them focus to their creativity and the deadline.”


Word count: 673

*Check out some of the work from Cyclo Animation here

**Typography as headers made by me


Reference list

Casul, M 2014, ‘Remuneration’, Lecture in COMM2384 Client Management, 19th March, RMIT University, Vietnam.


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One thought on “Money matters at the bottom of the food chain.

  1. Interesting and rather controversial. In general very easy read, not at all formal which answers the brief regarding the tone of voice for this assessment. Good link at the end for company portfolio. A few improvements needed though:

    1.) As this is a public blog, not all readers have prior knowledge of our class lectures. It might be best to give brief explanations for the ‘theories’ you mention or refer to.
    2.) I don’t know if you remember but in Creativity class- I do mention that A.E.’s counterpart in production houses are called Producers, some ad agencies also have Broadcast Producers. That was my former job, I talk a lot about that part of my career in Client Management class 🙂
    3.) The author’s editorial point of view is not clear. Are you making a case against local practices of individual 3rd party producers? Are you discussing realities of remuneration in the animation industry? Are you saying Cyclo is a good or bad example of this local remuneration practice? Are you making a statement on the account team vs. creative team ethical practice? This could be made clearer in the introduction and conclusion part.

    ~Mel C

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